UN experts interview Iraqi scientist linked with suspect aluminum tubes

Continuing the search for evidence of Baghdad’s nuclear arms programme, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today privately interviewed a senior engineer in connection with Iraq’s procurement history related to key aluminum tubes.In addition, teams from the United Nations Monitoring, Inspection and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC) inspected a number of sites, including the Al Khadimia and Al Samoud Factories involved in liquid propellant-type missile engine; Al Assma Company, which manufactures Al Fateh missile parts; Al Mutasim Airfield, involved in conducting flight test of a remotely piloted vehicle; Al Ameen Factory, involved in hydrostatic testing of Al Fateh and Al Abour missile motor cases; and Um Al Maarik General Establishment, which manufactures missile and rocket motor cases.”The teams continued to verify Iraq’s declarations and establish a comprehensive monitoring mechanism,” UN spokesman Hiro Ueki told the press in Baghdad.An UNMOVIC chemical team returned to Al Mutanna “in connection with the mustard gas destruction process and took some chemical samples for analysis,” he added. Other UN inspectors probed the Al Zahif Al Kabeer Centre, a chemical plant located approximately 30 kilometres northwest of Baghdad. The plant was set up to extract minerals and chemical compounds from mining and seawater.An UNMOVIC biological team flew by helicopter to Al Fuwayjah, southwest of Kirkuk, and inspected a seed processing facility, while a multidisciplinary team returned to the Hadr Ammunitions Storage Facitity outside Mosul and inspected a large military site. That inspection “focused primarily on artillery and small-calibre munitions,” the spokesman said.The IAEA conducted a car-borne radiation survey in the Samarra area, and inspected Al Nida, a heavy industrial manufacturing plant in Baghdad. Other IAEA experts performed a “no-notice” inspection of Um Al Maarik and then went to Tho Al Fekar, just north of Baghdad, to inspect flow forming equipment and processes. Meanwhile in New York, a blizzard prompted the Security Council to postpone tomorrow’s scheduled open meeting on Iraq from the morning until the afternoon.

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